So it’s done.
After five years and three public consultations, Folkestone & Hythe District Council passed its Places and Policies Local Plan (Local Plan) at an Extraordinary meeting, of the Full Council on Wednesday, 16th September, 2020 at 7.00 pm.
Part One of the Local Plan allocates 55 sites for development for new homes, mixed-use development, business, retail, leisure, hotel and other uses.
Some of the sites have already been built upon such as Ingles Manor Folkestone, The Cherry Pickers public house, Cheriton. Others have already received planning permission and will be underway soon.
Part Two of the Local Plan sets out detailed development management policies to assess planning applications covering issues including: climate change; the natural environment; the historic environment; health and wellbeing; design and housing standards; the economy; community; and transport.
The Government though have once again proposed more major changes to the planning system. These proposals are causing considerable concern, especially the proposed reduction in consultation, which would remove much of the ability for local people and local authorities, such as ours, to influence the development in their area, and the potential increase in the housing targets.
For those of you who are not aware, 33% of the District falls within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). 55% of the District is at or below sea level and the majority of district’s 26 mile coastline, lies below the mean high water mark.
Under the old Core Strategy the Council had to ensure 350 homes were built each year; which was hardly ever met. The new revised target set out in the Core Strategy Review is 738 new homes per year. Central Govt is now considering that number of homes be increased to 1043 new homes per year in our district.
They have gone out to consultation with two documents.
The first is Changes to the Current Planning System. The deadline for responding to this consultation is 1st October.
This consultation sets out proposals for measures to improve the effectiveness of the current planning system. The 4 main proposals are:
changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need
securing of First Homes through developer contributions in the short term until the transition to a new system
supporting small and medium-sized builders by temporarily lifting the small sites threshold below which developers do not need to contribute to affordable housing
extending the current Permission in Principle to major development
The second consultation is Planning for the Future proposes reforms of the planning system to streamline and modernise the planning process. It proposes to bring a new focus to design and sustainability, improve the system of developer contributions to infrastructure, and ensure more land is available for development where it is needed. The deadline to respond to this consultation is 28th October
The video below explains the principles behind the white paper.
And the Campaign for Rural England (CPRE) provide a a very good summary of the major issues in their August bulletin
The planning changes proposed by central government could have dire consequences for our district. So if you love our district, be sure to have your say.
The Shepway Vox Team
Dissent is NOT a Crime